Get ready to feel like a kid in a candy store! There is a huge array of upgrade options available for Harley Davidson motorcycles and you can create virtually any look and performance you desire for your wheels.

In this upgrading Harley Davidson wheels guide, we break down the process of adding custom motorcycle wheels to your Harley Davidson dream bike.

Set A Budget

Calculating exactly how much you can afford to spend on a custom project will let you know what kind of resources and parts you can use. Will you leave it to a professional or do it yourself? How extensive can you make the project? Can you do it all at once or will you need to break it into phases?

Make sure you write down exactly how you want your wheels to look and perform, and every part required for the upgrade. You may even want to overestimate to be safe. Accounting for every purchase will help you avoid going over budget.

If you decide to go the professional route, make sure you get references or, at the very least, read online reviews of any motorcycle shop under consideration. The last thing you want is a technician who does a shoddy job working on your baby.

Customizing a dream bike yourself is definitely doable. It may just take a bit longer, but sometimes when you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself. You can search for DIY tutorials on YouTube, get guidance from rider community forums, or review the manual that might come with the purchased parts. Any of these methods work as an upgrading Harley Davidson wheels guide.

Know What You Need

Bigger rims or fatter wheels look great and feel great on those longer rides. Some size conversions are easy to do and can be made on your own, requiring no or minimal modification. Others are a little more difficult, permanent and may need a professional’s help.


upgrading harley davidson 21 x 5.5 wheels

Upgrading Your Stock Harley Davidson Wheels to a 21” Rim

Do you want to install a larger front wheel on your Harley Bagger Touring Model, but do not want to make any modifications? You can do so on 2000-2013 models when you use the 21″ X 3.25″ wheel. If you are working with 2014 to current models, you will need to make one simple modification because Harley Davidson designed the fender to snug the stock wheel tighter. This modification involves moving the stock fender up 1 inch for clearance of the 21” front wheel. The spacer is affordable and is usually in-stock at any Harley Davidson dealer.


upgrading harley davidson 23 x 55 wheels

Upgrading Your Stock Harley Davidson Wheels to a 23” Rim

The 23″ wheel is the first of the “Big Wheels” that you will need to modify your motorcycle and pretty easy to install. You will need a new fender for the 23″ wheel and raked triple trees for the 23″. Raked triple trees are necessary to maintain the correct neck angle for the bigger wheel. They also create space between the frame and the wheel for clearance.

Installing the 23” wheel is a simple job that novices can do using basic hand tools and a torque wrench. The bolt-on part is designed to replace the factory triple trees and offers about 6 degrees more rake. Make sure you give yourself a few hours to work on the trees. Change the trees first and then add the 23″ fender and wheel.


upgrading harley davidson 26 wheels

Upgrading Your Stock Harley Davidson Wheels to a 26” Rim

If you plan to upgrade the front wheel on your Harley Davidson to a 26” wheel, you are in good company. The 26″ wheel is the standard for “big wheel bikes.” You can complete this upgrade by cutting and welding on a new neck or using a bolt-on neck. The weld-on option is permanent but stronger, while the bolt-on option can be removed.

American Suspension makes a popular bolt-on rake kit that, combined with the 26” wheel, users have said gives them a better ride than the stock setup. A new fender is required, as well. Fat Katz and Bad Dad both make high-quality fenders perfect for the job. For the 26” wheel itself, we recommend SMT Machining because all of their designs are available in the 26” wheel size.


bulldog fat front tire

Upgrading Your Stock Harley Davidson Wheels to a Fat Tire

You can achieve the fat tire look on your motorcycle without going down to an 18” wheel when you install the 21×5.5″ BULLDOG fat tire. It is best to use raked triple trees on all 2000-2018 Harley Davidson baggers, as the wheel and tire combo is 1/2″ shorter than a standard 23″ wheel and tire combo. Baggers made from 2000-2013 will only need triple trees, while 2014-current models require raked triple trees.

Fat Katz and VooDoo Bike Works carry compatible fenders for 2000-2018 bikes that give them the look of a 21”. The Fat Katz fender is made of steel and is available in two styles: wrap and classic FL. The VooDoo Bike Works fender is constructed of reinforced fiberglass and available in the wrap style.

If you have a 26” setup on your bike and want a change, you can get the width of a fat tire with the 23 x 5.5″ wheel and wide fender. It will give you the side profile of a big wheel bagger, plus the width and stance of the fat tire motorcycles. The fitment’s overall height is the same as a 26″ big wheel, but with the width of a fat tire. It has the same tread and profile as the 21×5.5″ tire.

The upgrade requires removing the wheel and fender to install the 23 x 5.5″ wheel and wide fender. That is it! To get the job done right, you will need a reliable 26” rake kit from an experienced and skilled manufacturer. American Suspension’s bolt-on or weld-on rake kit for 26″ wheels is a great choice. You will also need a wide fender like the wrap and classic FL style fenders from Fat Katz that are made to fit on the 2014-newer bikes without adding lower legs and fork cans.

Get The Funds

Regardless of your budget, you can afford to buy the motorcycle wheels and parts you need when you go through the FLEXPAY Interest-Free Payment Program. Shop for wheels, fenders, spacers and triple trees from top manufacturers including SMT Machining, American Suspension, Bad Dad and Fat Katz.

You do not have to wait for months to start customizing your Harley dream bike. You can get the wheels and parts BEFORE they are paid in full!

Start the EZ 1-2-3 process by filling out the secure, convenient 5-minute online application. No credit checks, so bad credit is okay! We will contact you within 24-48 hours to let you know that you have been approved.

You will then begin making payments:

  1. Pay ⅓ of your total balance upon approval
  2. Pay ⅓ when your parts ship in 8-10 weeks
  3. Spread the remaining ⅓ out over 3-6 months

FLEXPAY is better than traditional financing, layaway and credit cards! So, get your upgrading Harley Davidson wheels guide ready and set the wheels in motion for customizing your dream bike today.

Apply for FLEXPAY's Motorcycle Parts Financing Program Interest-Free